Keeping e-commerce flowing with logistics solutions

Photo by Isabella Mendes

With the return of nightlife after two years of pandemic related restrictions, maintaining productivity after a weekend out may be a happy problem once again. Enter DrinkAid, a health supplement brand based in Singapore that specializes in reducing the side effects of alcohol such as intoxication, flushing and hangovers, helping professionals stay at their best the day after drinking.  They also supply F&B outlets and private events where alcohol is involved.

While their product helps professionals work smoothly, their own operations have been supported by available logistics and marketing tools that have helped them navigate the challenges of the pandemic and the growing e-commerce space.

SMEhorizon speaks with Solomon and Ryan, the Co-founders of DrinkAid on their company’s journey through the pandemic. Clarence Leong, Founder & CEO of EasyParcel, also weighs in on how SMEs like theirs can benefit from technology to bolster growth in the current digital landscape.

Online presence is now a necessity

DrinkAid began as a website on WooCommerce, before later moving to Shopify. In this, they reflect the larger trend towards businesses’ online presence becoming a necessity in the e-commerce landscape, rather than just an option. After all, shares Leong ““If you’re an offline business, people might expect to be able to look for your product online.”

Fortunately, current developments have made it easier. Clarence notes that It is getting easier to have an online presence nowadays. “To create an online store, there many templates and eCommerce platforms are available at very affordable prices and many of them are free at the start. These platforms are mostly integrated with shipping platforms, marketplaces and many marketing tools to make daily business processes easy.

“The simplicity has made it more competitive in every field. You will be left out if your business or brand is still not online,” he concludes.

Creating a business online does pose its own challenges. DrinkAid’s founders recount that a key challenge for them was finding an integration that could easily import orders, generate shipping bills and schedule pickups. Recognising this need, logistics providers like EasyParcel have developed ways to have SMEs speed up their process on operations, or even cut down their manpower with IOTs to create API key for seller to integrate their online store. Working with EasyParcel, say Ryan and Solomon, has allowed them to skip the time-consuming task of manually exporting and importing excel files.

Readying business for disruption and change

These capabilities ready businesses for inevitable disruptions and changes in the landscape. The pandemic is a prime example of this: besides the closure of nightlife DrinkAid’s business was also affected in other ways as well. Ryan recounts that “In the past two years, supply chains have become more difficult to manage due to inflation, rising freight costs and shipping delays.” In these times, the benefits of working with a suitable logistics partner becomes even more apparent.

In this case, DrinkAid benefitted from EasyParcel’s tiered pricing packages which helped to keep costs low enough to be absorbed for local customers. They also relied on the wide variety of couriers on the platform giving them the necessary flexibility to work around delays.

Logistics platforms have also taken into account the new developments in the e-Commerce space. For example, Clarence notes that selling via social media has become more prevalent. “E-commerce sellers have continuously grown with the trends and needs of their customers, expanding their options of selling their product on Facebook, Instagram, WeChat, WhatsApp, TikTok and many other live streaming platforms,” he says. In response, his company has not only worked on simplifying the shipping side of these new processes, but also developed marketing tools to help bridge online sellers with their customers.

Readying for growth ahead

As nightlife returns, DrinkAid is making ambitious plans to expand. “Now that restrictions have been lifted in Singapore,” says Solomon, “we are discussing partnership deals with the largest clubs and events to make DrinkAid available wherever alcohol is involved. Beyond Singapore, we aim to build up a presence in Malaysia, Taiwan and Thailand this year.”

These plans are facilitated by effective partnerships that allow business owners to focus on the core of their business, while leaving the operations in the hands of experts. Clarence advises SMEs to “focus on sales and marketing channel and outsource or leverage your fulfilments, pick pack and deliveries to the experts instead of building everything by yourself.”

“Continue to expend more sales channels, be they offline, online, marketplaces, websites, or additional social channels, and build your own customers journey from there,” he concludes.

Ryan and Solomon agree that such partnerships are important. “Operations wise, it is mission critical for consumer brands (like us) to find a good logistics partner they can seamlessly integrate with. It is such a big factor leading to operational efficiency and customer satisfaction.

“Besides optimizing shipping costs and getting happy customers, this also frees up more time to focus on strategy and partnerships.

“Growth wise, we have realized that a lot of it depends on finding the right partners that can unlock new capabilities. This applies to all aspects such as marketing, distribution and R&D. No company can do these things alone.

“As such, we think it’s best to spend time forming these connections and finding win-win partnerships. As the proverb goes – if you want to go far, go together,” they conclude.